Shane “Shakey” Byrne scorched inside his own Snetterton lap record to claim his second pole start of the season ahead of the third round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at the Norfolk circuit in a top ten that featured six different nationalities.
Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki’s Byrne leads the title standings, despite being beaten to the line by 0.118s at the previous round by the Australian, but he overcame the challenges from his rival with a stunning lap of 1m 47.488s.
Byrne, who is bidding for a record-breaking fourth title, said: “I’m really happy with that time. For me, the session was all about making sure that I was in the top three to take a front row start and I had a goal of the lap I wanted to set. But when I saw the time come up, I was really, really happy. We had made some changes to the bike and they really worked, but now we have two long races here and that is what it is all about.”
Czech Republic rider Jakub Smrz completes the front row of the grid, the first for the Millsport Ducati team and the first in four years for the Italian manufacturer. His best lap came in a last lap dash which pushed Frenchman Julien Da Costa and his Honda back on to the second row alongside Tommy Bridewell on the second Milwaukee Yamaha and James Ellison riding the Lloyd British GB Moto Kawasaki.
Swiss rider Patrick Muff ran seventh fastest on the Bathams BMW with his best performance of the season, ahead of three times champion Ryuichi Kiyonari and his Buildbase BMW team-mate James Westmoreland. Keith Farmer completed the top ten qualifiers despite crashing his PR Kawasaki in the session.
Graeme Gowland snatched the victory amid a three-way last lap scrap for supremacy in the Motorpoint British Supersport Championship sprint race as Alastair Seeley pushed into second at the expense of series leader Billy McConnell.
Australian McConnell had moved ahead of Luke Mossey on the second lap and looked to be pushing ahead at the front, but there was a growing threat from Gowland who edged into third. The Smiths Racing Triumph pairing though were coming under pressure from Seeley who had smashed the lap record and was on the charge into contention.
Gowland was closing in on his Smiths Triumph team-mate McConnell and there was less than half a second between them going into an epic final lap. Gowland, who had again bettered the lap record, moved ahead going through Riches, but McConnell bit back at Agostini only for Gowland to reclaim the position.
“The win’s been a long time coming and it was 2010 when I last won a Supersport race so it’s brilliant to be back on the top step again,” said Gowland. “The Smiths Triumph team have put a lot of trust in me this year, right from the beginning of the year, so it’s brilliant to repay them.
“It was a hot race and the tyres were moving around a lot but I just kept chipping away and managed to get by Billy at the end. It’s such a tough class and both Billy and Alastair are flying but we’ve a few changes to make to the bike and will give it another go tomorrow,” added Gowland.
Seeley grabbed second place on his Mar-Train Yamaha on the run to the line clawing back four points on McConnell in the title chase, while in the Supersport Evo class David Allingham on the IN Competition Yamaha took the victory ahead of the series leader Alex Olsen.
Motorpoint British Supersport Championship, Snetterton, Sprint race result
Motorpoint British Supersport Championship standings
- Billy McConnell Smiths Triumph 92
- Alastair Seeley MarTrain Yamaha 81
- Glenn Irwin Gearlink Kawasaki 74
- Luke Jones Acumen Industrial Services Triumph 65
- Graeme Gowland Smiths Triumph 61
Pirelli National Superstock 600 qualifying
Kyle Ryde with a lap in 1m 54.127secs starts his Pacedayz Trackdays Yamaha from pole position a quarter of a second up on Ben Godfrey aboard the Tsingtao WK Kawasaki while series leading Andy Reid completes the front row on the FFX Yamaha. James Lodge heads the second row with Mason Law and Levi Day alongside.
Pirelli National Superstock 1000 qualifying
Series leader Danny Buchan chopped a second off the record with a lap in 1m 50.390s, to put his Tsingtao WK Kawasaki on pole, a quarter of a second up on his title rival Jason O’Halloran and Adam Jenkinson aboard the Direct CCTV SBR Kawasaki. Lee Jackson, reigning champion Hudson Kennaught and Filip Backlund start from the second row.
Motul British Motostar Championship qualifying
Bradley Ray put his FAB Racing EE125 onto the pole start with a best lap of 2m 01.299s with Moto3 riders Joe Irving on the Redline KTM and James Hobson on the Two 4 Honda. 125GP runner Edward Rendell on the Banks Honda heads the second row ahead of Moto3 riders Jordan Weaving and Charlie Nesbitt.
TriStar R&G Triple Challenge qualifying
Scott Pitchers denied series leader Freddy Pett the pole start, though it was a close run session with only 0.033s between them with Sam Cox completing the front row again running only a split second down. Phil Atkinson, second in the standings heads the second row alongside Tom Carne and Sam Middlemas.
Eastern Airways British Sidecar Championship qualifying
Andy Peach/Charlie Richardson claimed the pole start by almost half a second from the series leaders Sean Hegarty/James Neave. Barry James/Sam Christie and Roger Lovelock/Aki Alto start from the second row.
TriStar R&G Triple Challenge races
Phil Atkinson and Scott Pitchers took the victories in the two Saturday races. Atkinson led throughout the first race to take his second victory of the season and that was enough to give him the edge in the title stakes over Freddy Pett who closed within 0.763s of him on the final lap to take second place ahead of Pitchers. Atkinson again made the early running next time out but by the sixth lap Pitchers had taken the lead ahead of Jones, Tom Carne, with Atkinson fourth ahead of Pett.
Eastern Airways British Sidecar Championship race 1
Series leaders Sean Hegarty/James Neave comfortably won the delayed six lap race by a little over seven seconds from Andy Peach/Charlie Richardson with Roger Lovelock/Aki Alto third.
Milwaukee Yamaha Report
Josh Brookes powered the Milwaukee Yamaha to the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s third round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship at Snetterton in second place with Tommy Bridewell aiming for a flying start from the second row in fifth.
The Milwaukee Yamaha pair had been working hard throughout the free practice sessions to perfect their setup ahead of qualifying and tomorrow’s races with a strong performance giving the team confidence ahead of the all important races. For Bridewell the performance was his strongest of the season so far, whilst Brookes is bidding to add to his winning tally in Norfolk.
Brookes said: “I have been working through different steps to make improvements during the weekend and the changes have been really positive today. We focused on the rear of the machine after the sessions yesterday and for qualifying the Milwaukee Yamaha was how I wanted it. I tested the SC0 tyre during qualifying and then for the last run I went for the SC1 tyre which is what I had been using previously. I am happy with the front row and we will see what we can do tomorrow.”
Bridewell said: “Today has been a good day. We have shown good pace all weekend and I am really comfortable on the Milwaukee Yamaha. In Q3 that was when I really stretched my legs and did what I could do. I am a little bit disappointed that we didn’t get those couple more tenths, but tomorrow I feel determined I have got my sights set on what I want to achieve and hopefully we can do that.”